Is Face Licking an Acceptable Behavior?


Nature has placed limited options for dogs in order to communicate to people. The only means of communication they have is thru body language. The most usual body language which dog’s expresses are wagging of tails, they twist and run excitedly, growling and barking, and licking of faces and hands. The very first option convey general mood, the next option convey joy or excitement, the third one is for advisory, and the last one conveys admiration and affection. The first three options are generally acceptable to most owners not the last option; most especially the licking of the face has the least owner support. A lot of owner may think about the idea that the dogs tongue has a lot of germs in it.

The behavior of licking is very natural to most puppies. They tend to lick their mother’s faces to show recognition of the mother’s care. It is also a typical behavior to indicate who is dominant between the male and female specie. In return, this usual behavior is being transferred to dominant human and their caregivers.

Most children, especially, are very fond of friendly puppies that lick their faces. They laugh and enjoy the puppy’s behavior. It has been accepted that licking by a new puppy is much sanitary than licking by much older dogs. Older dogs are identified to use their tongues to drink toilet water, nibble their feces, and then lick their master’s faces using that same tongue. All of this said behavior is the number one reason to discourage dog’s face licking trait. A dog can be trainers by their master’s to nuzzle the face even without licking.

Punishment is not a very good idea when training your dog not to lick faces. Remember, it is the dog’s natural behavior of communicating. Face licking behavior is not a bad trait; it is just unacceptable and unsanitary to humans. Just teach your dog and do not punish them.

The best way to train your dogs is when they start licking your face, you should simply turn your head away and command, “Stop licking”. Move away from your dog and ignore them for a couple of minutes. One of the most important things in training your dogs is consistency, regardless of the method you used. The training will not take that long if the dog realizes that face licking behavior is not accepted.

If you will permit hand licking as substitute to face licking, that kind of behavior will eventually satisfy the dog. This will result to licking your hand instead of your face. This is most acceptable way to reward your dog’s affection. Once you are decided to permit hand licking, always remember to wash your hands regularly.

Make sure to inform the whole family about the dog’s training and the importance of eliminating the face licking behavior. You should also encourage little children to avoid face licking. At first, it might be very hard for them to understand, but if you will explain it further, children will probably understand its importance. The training will be very hard if the dog already learn that face licking is acceptable with the rest of the family except you. Always be consistent in training your animals.

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Jonathan Pitts

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